Independent Labour Party (India)

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Independent Labour Party (ILP) was an Indian political organisation formed under the leadership of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar in 15 August 1936 against the brahmanical and capitalist structures in the society. ILP argued for Indian labour class while also stressing on the nature of caste structures and need for its annihilation.[1]

Aims and Objectives[edit]

The declared aims and objectives of ILP were as follows:[2]

  • State Sponsored industrialisation was given high priority.
  • It demanded strong labour laws to protect factory workers. It favoured legislation to provide remunerative wages, to fix maximum hours of work, leave with pay and a sanitary dwelling at reasonable amount.
  • It stressed the need for abolition of the Jagirdari system
  • It advocated an extensive programme for the improvement of educational facilities in technical institute.
  • It also voiced against the exclusion of Dalits from the lucrative jobs in industries.


The formation of ILP was not welcomed or supported by the communist leaders arguing that this will lead to a split in the working-class votes. Ambedkar replied that communist leaders were working for the rights for the worker but not for the human rights of Dalit workers.[2] In his work Annihilation of Caste, Ambedkar put forth the idea that caste is not merely the 'division of labour' but 'division of labourers' based upon graded inequality.[3]


In the 1937 Provincial elections conducted, in accordance with the Government of India Act 1935, ILP secured a total of 14 seats out of 17 in which they contested. This included 11 reserved (out of 13) and 3 general seats (out of 4).[3]

In 1938 ILP with the support of Congress Socialist Party organised a march of 20,000 tenants from the Konkan region to Bombay, marked the largest pre-independence peasant mobilisation in the region. In same year it also joined with Communists for organising Bombay textile labourers in the issue of a bill presented in the assembly to control the strikes by the labourers. ILP opposed the bill from within the Bombay Legislative Assembly and Ambedkar exposed the anti-labour nature of the bill and unsound reasons presented in the bill along with it he supported the labourers right to strike.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mendelsohn, Olive; Vicziany, Marik (1998). The Untouchables: Subordination, Poverty and the State in Modern India. Contemporary South Asia. 4. Cambridge University Press. p. 115. ISBN 0521556716. 
  2. ^ a b c Singh, Mahendra Prasad, ed. (2011). Indian Political Thought: Themes and Thinkers. Pearson Education India. p. 228. ISBN 8131758516. 
  3. ^ a b Jaffrelot, Christophe (2003). India's Silent Revolution: The Rise of the Lower Castes in North India. C. Hurst & Co. Publishers. pp. 103–104. ISBN 1850653984.